Passive Skill Tree
The most essential keystone is Resolute Technique, which offers a large boost in damage. Bleeding ticks cannot deal Critical Strikes, which makes this keystone even more well suited to this build than most. You will also want to pick up all of the Axe notables, such as Cleaving, Slaughter, Hatchet Master, and Splitting Strikes before reaching Maps. The Gladiator’s Perseverance and Strong Arm (or Martial Experience and Butchery if you are using a 2-Handed weapon, respectively) are also great pickups for beefing up your damage later on.
Start acquiring the Bleed focused nodes next, picking up Crimson Dance once you have a fair chance to bleed on Lacerate. This will boost your single target damage immensely while in Blood stance, and help you take full advantage of your Ascendancy keystones. Impale chance and effect are “icing on the cake” style nodes, and pair nicely with crafted axes that also have chance to impale. Jewel sockets should be among your latter priorities, but can be acquired earlier if you have very high quality Jewels ready for use in advance.
Lacerate is our main skill and the only 6-Link necessary to incorporate into the build. It works perfectly fine with both 1-Handed and 2-Handed weapons, but we prefer 1-Handed axes by default. The auras we run are Blood and Sand, which is essential to virtually all Gladiator builds, and transforms Lacerate into a far more potent and flexible skill, as well as Flesh and Stone for greater defenses. The Pride aura is also used to debuff nearby enemies and boost our Physical damage far above what it would be by default.
Other links are relatively flexible, but we like to use Vaal Ancestral Warchief to pump out some extra burst whenever needed. Since this build is inflicting heavy bleeds with Lacerate, we can incorporate the underutilized Bloodlust Support gem to add even more potency to your Warchief. Leap Slam is a good means of getting around, particularly with the movement skill changes added in Patch 3.7 Legion.
You can opt for either Melee Physical Damage Support or Ruthless Support — they have relatively equal damage output, our preference is Melee Physical Damage Support as feel it is a little less restrictive in playstyle.
- Multistrike Support
- Brutality Support
- Melee Physical Damage Support OR Ruthless Support
- Fortify Support
- Pulverise Support
If you are on a 5-Link, you should choose between Fortify Support or Pulverise Support. Fortify Support offers more damage and defense, but Pulverise Support grants a large increase in area of effect resulting in slightly faster and smoother clear.
Vaal Ancestral Warchief 4-Link
Immortal Call can be swapped out with another
- Cast when Damage Taken Support (Level 10)
- Immortal Call (Level 12)
- Increased Duration Support
- Curse of Choice
The three best curse options are Vulnerability (Level 13), Warlord's Mark (Level 13), and Enfeeble (Level 13). Our preference is to use Warlord's Mark starting out and transition into Enfeeble in higher-end maps, keeping Vulnerability in a separate link as a manual-cast curse purely for use on bosses.
Leap Slam 3-Link
Player’s Preference 3-Link
These final three gem slots can be used for a variety of useful gems and abilities. Some recommendations:
- Blood Rage
- Increased Duration Support
- Molten Shell / Vaal Molten Shell
- Vaal Grace
Our current preference is:
The gems do not need to be linked unless you are incorporating Increased Duration Support to prolong the other two chosen gems.
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